This blog hop question is really well timed as February 2nd practically requires a (re)watching of Groundhog Day, which is probably the best example of moving towards self-actualization. Seriously, re-watch it if you haven’t recently. When he starts repeating the day, Phil first starts eating junk food and drinking (physical). Then he tests if anything can hurt or kill him (safety). Then he starts learning about every person in town, making friends and lovers (belonging). Then he starts learning skills like piano and medical skills and saving people (esteem). Finally, he starts living for himself and reaches self-actualization.
Technically this falls under Esteem and not Self-Actualization, but Nilla needs praise. I’ve never met an equine who responds so well to being praised. She really wants to please. When she finally gets something and get praised she really just lights up. Once it’s established what the good thing to do is, she will continue to try to do it even if I’m no longer actively praising that behavior. For example, if she goes over a set of trot poles and touches one of them, she’ll pin her ears back and shake her head.
|Angry ears about touching the poles|
If she doesn’t touch any of them, she practically prances off happy with herself. Because we’ve been doing poles a long time, I don’t always praise over poles anymore, but she still seeks that reward. If we’re learning new things, she loves to get praised. It still often takes her a bit to learn what she’s being praised for, but she really seeks it out.